NBA

Most Overpaid Players in the NBA

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Vincent Frank
Written by Vincent Frank

We checked in on the most underpaid players in the NBA earlier this month. It wasn’t surprise that the players in that article were mainly from contending and championship teams. Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors topped that list. 

Unfortunately for the teams that own the rights to the players listed below, they are handcuffed by some of the worst contracts in professional sports. Let’s go ahead and check in on a few of the downright horrible contracts in the National Basketball Association.

Note: We will not include Kobe Bryant in this article. While recent injuries have kept him from being the player he once was, it doesn’t make sense to have a five-time NBA champion in an article like this.

1. Amar’e Stoudemire, Forward, New York Knicks ($21.68 million) 

When New York conducted a sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns for Stoudemire back in 2010, many applauded the move. The big man then proceeded to put up over 25 points per game in an All-Star campaign that season. It has been downhill ever since.

Over the course of the last three seasons, Stoudemire has seen his numbers in all the major statistical categories decline. He bottomed out in 2013-2014 at just 11.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. It has gotten so bad that the Knicks are reportedly looking to move other assets in order to just get rid of Stoudemire’s contract (via the New York Post). 

With an annual salary of $21.68 million last season, Stoudemire was the third-highest paid player in the entire NBA. To put that into perspective, he averaged over $28,000 per point scored in 2013-2014.

2. Joe Johnson, Guard, Brooklyn Nets ($21.47 million) 

Courtesy of ESPN: It might have been all smiles a couple years back, not so much anymore.

Courtesy of ESPN: It might have been all smiles a couple years back, not so much anymore.

Johnson is owed over $48 million in the next two seasons. That’s outrageous enough considering the remainder of his contract is guaranteed. To make matters worse, Johnson is coming off a season that saw him put up is lowest point total since 2002-2003. Despite earning a ridiculous All-Star nod last season, Johnson just wasn’t the same player he was in the past.

As the fourth-highest paid player in the NBA last season, Johnson earned more money for his performance than the likes of Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James and Dwight Howard. Just think about that for a second.

3. Josh Smith, Forward, Detroit Pistons ($13.5 million) 

Most experts questioned Detroit’s decision to give Smith a four-year, $56 million contract prior to the start of last season. And he responded by proving them right. Not known for much more than his ability to score, Smith averaged just 16.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per outing. In fact, last season represented Smith’s lowest rebound output since his second year in the NBA back in 2005-2006.

Playing somewhat out of position, depending on which way you look at it, Smith simply isn’t the same player that Detroit thought it was acquiring last August. Interestingly enough, the two players directly below Smith on the NBA pay hierarchy last season were Andre Iguodala and Tony Parker. That tells you everything you need to know about Smith’s current deal.

4. Carlos Boozer, Forward, Chicago Bulls ($15.3 million) 

It wasn’t too long ago that Boozer was among the best big men in the entire NBA. Now there are reports out there that Chicago may very well be planning to amnesty the former second-round pick, which would essentially equate to the Bulls paying Boozer not to suit up for him next season. The former All-Star averaged just 13.7 points and less than nine rebounds per outing in 2013-2014.

Boozer earned $15.3 million for his performance last season. This ranked him among the 20 highest-paid players in the NBA, ahead of the likes of fellow power forwards Kevin Love and Serge Ibaka.

5. Roy Hibbert, Center, Indiana Pacers ($14.28 million) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVGMo3yYfBg

A 7’2″ center that averages less than seven rebounds per game. That’s exactly what Hibbert has been during a pedestrian six-year NBA career. More than that, Hibbert was downright dreadful in the postseason this past year. So bad that he was held to single digits in over half of his appearances, including six points or less seven times.

It has gotten to the point where the Pacers have actually quietly had discussions about trading away the rare talent (via the Sporting News). 

In terms of the broader NBA, Hibbert earned more cash last season than Tyson Chandler, Andrew Bogut and Al Jefferson. That’s not exactly what you would call getting the most out of the big man.

All salary information by Spotrac

Photo: The NY Post

About the author

Vincent Frank

Vincent Frank

Editor-at-large, Sportsnaut.

“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?” Rumi